1 September 2022 (Thursday) - This n That
I had another restless night but this one might have been better had Treacle's stomach not been rumbling and gurgling quite so much. I did my usual morning routine and slipped off to work leaving everyone snoring at home, and soon was on my way to work.
As I drove there was a lot of talk on the radio about the ongoing cost of energy crisis. The head honcho at Ovo (the third biggest energy provider in the UK) was being interviewed. He suggested a scheme whereby the basic cost of energy is cheaper, but gets more expensive as you use more. Sounds strange to me... no matter how you fiddle it about, if people can't afford the energy bill they won't use the stuff. Leccie and gas has got to be a lot cheaper overall. There's no point in halving the bill for the first week of the month if you double the bill for the last week, is there?
And the international inspection team are on their way to give the Ukraininan Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant a once-over. There's a lot of concern about the place... With Europe's biggest nuclear power station in a war zone, quite rightly so
Meanwhile Ravil Maganov (The chairman of Russia's oil giant Lukoil) has died after "falling out of a hospital window". Apparently shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine he publicly called for the war to end. Perhaps if he'd kept his trap shut no one would have pushed him out, would they?
I got to work where it was raining, and whereas yesterday had been a MGUS sort of day, today's theme was "target cells" which are *not* called “codocytes” by anyone except Wikipedia. But again being on an early shift meant I got away promptly.
I drove to the Skoda dealer; the nice man said he’d have a look at the damage to my car (from when it got scraped two days ago). I had considered just leaving it and driving round in a scratched car, but the passenger door was making a rather nasty crunching noise every time I opened it.
The nice man said they didn’t do bodywork, but he told me of a garage that did. So I drove for two minutes to Alpha Rapid Repairs where the nice man gave the front panel a clout and sorted out the nasty crunching noise. He took a few photos of the damaged bits, including the door handle and wheel that I didn’t know had been scraped, and said he’d email me a quote for the cost of repairs in the morning.
I was only twenty minutes late getting home, and so still having time I took the dogs to the woods where we had a rather good walk.
“er indoors TM” boiled up dinner, and with it scoffed I wondered if I should have an early night as I’ve been feeling progressively more and more grim as the day had gone past. Instead I just played on-line bubble-pop games.
2 September 2022 (Friday) - Wasted Journey (?)
With the puppies safely on the bed (and Treacle appeased) I made toast and watched another episode of "Shadow and Bone" which is getting rather good. This is yet another of those shows which passed me by when it was first released.
I had a quick look at Facebook and chuckled at a meme I read. Based on the "Charley Says" cat that was popular in safety films of the 1970s, "Charley" said that back in the 1970s we didn't have people going to food banks because we didn't squander our money on mobile phone contracts, nail bars or designer label sportswear. Am I being harsh in wondering if "Charley" isn't entirely wrong? Certainly in my experience those people that I've seen talking about having to use food banks have been doing so via the Internet connections of their mobile phones.
And there were quite a few "back to school" photos as well this morning. I quite like seeing them. This year there didn't seem to be quite so many people (always those without children) being rude about these photos, which was probably for the best.
Taking care not to disturb anyone I got ready for work, and rolled my eyes as I realised it was dustbin day... I realise that the dustmen have a job to do, but the really do make maximum inconvenience as they do it. Usually they make a point of blockading the pavements with the recycling bins, but on seeing me walking out of the house, one of the bin men (with a cheeky smile) literally hurled our bin at me. I managed to dodge it, but it hit the fence with a crash. I then spent five minutes waiting for the dustbin lorry to get out of the way before I could set off.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about today being the last day of the Conservative Party's leadership contest. Several so-called experts were wheeled on, all of whom agreed that the public are sick of hearing about it. I must admit that after two months speculation over what certainly seems to be a foregone conclusion, it has got rather tedious. However what seemed to go over the heads of those presenting the news was that it was them themselves who have been bombarding up with this endless drivel.
I got to work and cracked on with the early shift. As I worked I got a message from “er indoors TM”. What was the orange thing that Morgan had been chewing? It was the connector that joined the power cable from the plug to the cable to the pump that powers one of the water features. The thing is repairable (I hope), but I wish he hadn't chewed it. It was just as well that I only switch it on when I am there, isn't it?
And I got a message from the repair people who had a look at the scrape on my car yesterday. They'd priced up the cost of repairs... over a thousand quid. Not overly keen on driving round in a scraped car until I get a new one I thought I might try talking to the insurance people. It took a while to get through. After being told I needed to speak to someone else and being put back on hold for the third time I gave up.
When the boss wasn't looking I spent a few minutes poring over the map. After Tuesday's debacle I didn't fancy taking any country lanes on the trip to Eastbourne. I plotted a route along A-roads and slipped off at the earliest opportunity… and fell at the first hurdle. The A road was closed at Wateringbury, and signposts to Eastbourne just stopped once I’d got into Tunbridge Wells.
After two and a half hours I finally got to Eastbourne Hospital. I went to the ward to see Dad. He was fast asleep, so I let him sleep. And after ten minutes I was (rather curtly) told he was being taken for an X-ray and he was taken off (still n his bed and fast asleep). I tried to talk to the nurse about why he was going for an X-ray and about one or two other things, but the nurse clearly didn’t want to talk to me. She didn’t actually say “f… off baldy” but that was definitely her unspoken implication.
So I came home… I got home nearly five hours after I’d started driving. I’d made a round trip of a hundred miles to watch Dad sleeping for ten minutes and to be fobbed off. Perhaps the nurse was having a bad day. I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt for now…
3 September 2022 (Saturday) - Dog Club, Geo-Meet, Pond Work...
Not being at work today I stayed in bed until half past seven. That is quite the lie-in for me. I made toast, and got ready for the off. With “er indoors TM” off out with her mates at some rock gig or other (?) me and the dogs had been left “home alone”, and I had plans…
We wandered up the road to the car and drove off to Whetsted. As we drove in a novel break with tradition I didn’t have Radio 4 on. Instead I tuned to Radio Ashford and listened to Steve. Or that is I listened to Steve in between the music and the adverts. There was a *lot* more music and adverts on the local radio than there ever is on Radio 4. Steve was running a contest in which various records were being played and he was listing various things that happened. Unfortunately the reception gave out when I got to Leeds castle so I never did find out what the right year was… I *think* it was 2008.
We got to where we were going - Whetsted and Ted’s Field where there was a meet-up of the “Kent Dachshund” Group. I’ve been keen to get the puppies (and Treacle) meeting other dogs, and I thought (hoped) this might be a good opportunity.
It was really good. Everyone was so welcoming, and it was such fun with dachshunds everywhere. It was fairly obvious which one was Bailey (as she was the only white one there), but Morgan just melted into the swarm of dachshunds, and the two of them charged around with their new friends non-stop. I didn’t count, but there must have been over twenty dachshunds and daxie-crosses of all shapes and sizes and colours.
Treacle stayed with me for much of the time; she’s generally terrified of other dogs. But she was fine all the time the others didn’t get in her face. Sniffing her bum is fine with her; but not her face (bit like me, really). But she wandered off with the other dogs from time to time.
The meet was scheduled to run for an hour; and after an hour everyone went their different ways. It was a dedicated dog-training field and someone else had booked it for twelve o’clock. We’d each paid two quid per dog for the field hire. I thought that was rather good value…
From Whetsted we braved the traffic and made our way to Tunbridge Wells to show our faces at the geo-meet. It was only just down the road from “dog club” so it would have been rude not to have turned up.
I only stayed for a few minutes, but it was good to catch up with those people I knew. The meet was a picnic by the cricket green, and it was hard to tell who was geo-meet and who was “normal people”.
From the meet we came home. I wanted to get the pond sorted… I turned off the filters and cleaned them out, disassembled the old cascade (built last week) and moved it out of the way. I then heaved the new one into place, then got the filters where they should be and buried the electricals and plumbing, and had a bit of a go at landscaping. Thirty seconds to type; over two hours to do. And I’m still not sure I like the finished thing… not that it’s finished. One of the filters has only a fraction of the flow of the other. I think I might need to rod it out or get some new tubing. But I decided that could wait till another day.
I did the dogs’ dinner, and then foraged for mine (in the direction of KFC) then spent the evening ironing two weeks’ worth of shirts. What with one thing and another I didn’t get round to ironing them last week. Can’t think why (!)
As I ironed I watched more episodes of “Shadow and Bone” as the dogs snored. Dog club certainly wore them out. Much like the afternoon’s pond work wore me out.
I think a restful day might be a plan for tomorrow…
4 September 2022 (Sunday) - Badlesmere
I heaved myself out of bed at eight o’clock this morning… and I took some heaving. I think I overdid it in the garden yesterday. Talking of which I had a little check. All looked well with the pond, which was a result.
I made toast and looked at the Internet. It was still there. I sent out a couple of birthday wishes, and had a look at what was happening on-line. There wasn’t much happening. Someone had asked (on one of the TV pages) about why the TV show “Are You Being Served” was so popular. I made the mistake of pointing out that when it was made there wasn’t any competition from other channels. BBC2 played highbrow intellectual rubbish that no one ever watched, and there was a lot of snobbery about ITV being for the lower orders… BBC1 really did have a monopoly. Other people tried to make an argument about it… I left them to it.
We got ourselves organised and drove up to Badlesmere where we met Karl, Tracey and Charlotte and set off for a little wander. We’ve got a walk which works really well round there. Mostly footpaths with only a few areas where the dogs have to be on leads, and only one stretch which could be considered “up hill”.
As we walked we had a look-see at the geocaches in the area to make sure they were all fine… they were. One or two people seemed to have had issues with one of the caches on the way. So we had a look… and couldn’t understand the problem. I re-read the instructions… You get to the given location, look to the left and see a gate. You count the wooden bars and signs on it and do some sums to get the co ordnates of the final location. What was the issue? I couldn’t see one.
I took some photos as we walked and scoffed, and with walk walked and scoff scoffed we came home. A quick cuppa, and I woke up on the sofa four hours later buried under dogs.
“er indoors TM” boiled up cake and custard, and we found ourselves watching “Train Truckers”; a strangely engaging show in which a team of truckers heave trains onto trucks and drive them across the country on the roads. I would have thought the obvious way to shift a train would have been along tracks, but what do I know?
5 September 2022 (Monday) - Limescale round my Ballcock
I had a rather bad night (again) seeing every hour of it (again). It was dark when I took the puppies out, but they soon settled with “er indoors TM” and I made toast.
I didn’t bother turning on the telly; instead I had a look at the Internet (which was the same as ever). A few people had a birthday today; I sent my birthday video to those with whom I’ve actually communicated in the last year. And with nothing else occurring I got ready for work. There’s no denying that I felt rather rough at six o’clock this morning. Perhaps I should have phoned in sick, but I got on with my life and spent much of the day whinging at anyone who would listen.
I had quite the walk to find where I'd left the car. As I walked it was rather obvious we'd had rain overnight. We could do with more of that. I got to the car (eventually) and took a little detour to cap some Munzee Points of Interest (as I do) before heading up the motorway. I say "motorway"; for all that the pundits on the radio would have us believe that "Operation Brock" has finished, the M20 is still a dual carriageway (in both directions) with a fifty miles per hour speed limit, and there are no plans to change this for a year or so.
The most frustrating part of it all was the signs saying “speed limit in force to protect workforce” when there was fifteen miles of speed limit and no workforce whatsoever.
As I drove there was also some zoologist on the radio being interviewed about her revelation that during lockdown animals in zoos had got "more jiggy" than usual. Lockdown was apparently quite the instigator of quite un-moral behaviour in zoo animals. For me the take-home message here was that whilst some of us were doing our best to keep the country going during the lockdown, and whilst others had been going stir-crazy, there were those who had been watching to see how randy things were getting in zoos.
And they got paid for it too...
But perhaps the most important thing mentioned was that our new Prime Minster will be freezing the prices of leccie and gas... There's no denying power costs need freezing. In fact it needs halving. Mind you I can distinctly remember the run-up to the last general election when the Conservative party were constantly lambasting the Labour party about there not being a "magic money tree" to fund their policies. It would seem that the Tories have found one, wouldn't it?
As I worked (whinged at anyone who would listen) I had a message to contact the garage. Having been quoted a thousand quid to get the car sorted I decided that I shouldn't drive round in a scratched-up car when the scratching-up hadn't been my fault. I'd spent an age fighting with the insurance company's website last night, and today a garage in Dover contacted me to discuss the repairs. They will be taking my car away for at least a week at the end of November, and won't be supplying me with a courtesy car. I phoned the insurance company to demand a courtesy car, and eventually got put through to the wrong person. She assured me that the right person would phone me back... but talk is cheap. Certainly cheaper than fixing a scratched car...
With work worked I came home and took the dogs to the woods. We did something quite revolutionary: we went round the woods in an anticlockwise direction and didn’t meet everyone. I’ve had a theory (for some time) that everyone but us goes round anticlockwise and in doing that this evening we managed to avoid all the normal people. Result (!)
I then got a mini step ladder and had a look at our water tank. The thing has been overflowing for a few days. The bit controlled by the ballcock was rather encrusted with limescale. I’ve never seen such humungous lumps of limescale; they have obviously been building up for years. Have you ever looked at the ballcock in your water tank? Have you got as much limescale as I have? I’d have a look now before you have the problem I’ve got (or one of them!)
I snapped off as much as I dared, but I soon got to the point where I didn’t know whether I would be snapping off limescale or ballcock, so I’ve sent for the plumber. Hopefully he will sort out the dripping tap in the bathroom too.
“er indoors TM” came home, boiled up some scran, then went bowling. The dogs fell asleep on top of me and I watched the third episode of “House of the Dragon” which (in true “Game of Thrones” style) has given up having a plot in favour of tedious seemingly endless battle scenes.
I fell asleep…
6 September 2022 (Tuesday) - Eastbourne Again
I actually slept through till three o'clock this morning, and judging by what I read on Facebook (as I scoffed brekkie) I would seem to have missed the thunderstorm. Facebook this morning was either talk of the thunderstorm or talk of the new Prime Minister. I did chuckle as I read what certain friends had posted. I have several friends who support various political parties in the same way that they support their chosen football team. For some of them it was as though the Conservatives had elected the baby Jesus, and for others it was as though Genghis Khan had returned.
It never fails to amaze me how so many otherwise intelligent people try to claim that black is white purely because their chosen favourite political party claims that is the case.
Once I'd refereed the dogs' squabbles (Treacle had a time out!) and scoffed toast I set off to work. I set off via fourteen dull points of interest, and as I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about the new Prime Minister as well. She's supposedly going to sort out the cost of living crisis starting with the ridiculously high leccie and gas bills. Details of how she was going to do so were rather vague; there was a strange idea being proposed in which the bills will be spread out years into the future. Presumably Lacey, “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” and “Darcie Waa Waa TM” will be paying for my leccie bills long after they have buried me.
There was then an interview with the deputy leader of the Labour party Angela Rayner. Call me a snob if you will, but when she speaks she sounds terrible. You'd think that someone who has chosen to be a public figure would have sorted her voice out, wouldn't you? I popped into Sainsburys on my way to work, and the cleaners shrieking abuse at each other were better spoken than Ms Rayner.
On the way back to my car I capped a qrewzee and got a diamond qrate. That was a result. Or, it was a result for those who scan bar codes stuck to lamp posts. As I was driving past the filling station, I got petrol, and went in to work.
Work was much the same as ever. There was cake, or to be precise, baklava. Have you ever had baklava? It's a bit like an undercooked sponge which has been covered in glue. But call it what you will, cake is cake.
I spent much of the day planning the drive to Eastbourne. There was apparently a road closure at Cross in Hand and a ninety-eight per cent chance of thunderstorm when I was due to be arriving at my destination. And then the hospital phoned me… so I left work earlier than planned and set off to Eastbourne.
This was my fifth trip to Eastbourne in less than two weeks, and it seems to me that no matter what way I go, it isn't a good drive, but I think I might have found the best way to go.
I got to the hospital and had a little chat with the doctor looking after Dad. He’s not responding to treatments, and the treatments are very uncomfortable for him. We’ve decided the priority is to make him as comfortable as possible as there’s not much else we can do.
I then spent a little while with him as he slept… I told him about the limescale and the scratches on my car and the pond fun… I don’t think he heard a word.
7 September 2022 (Wednesday) - My Dad Died
The day started with absolute mayhem. Being on a late start and no need to be up at silly o’clock I came down to find the babies flying round the house being chased by Treacle who was partly enjoying a game of chase and partly trying to take the toys from the puppies. They had her favourite toy; her favourite toy being whichever one that another dog has got.
As I scoffed my toast I saw I had an email. On 18 June 2018 I used my “Mammals” app to photograph a mouse. The “Mammals” app was something I heard about on the radio years ago. The UK Mammal Society openly admitted that they didn’t really know which mammals lived where, so they were asking the public to download the app and photograph various mammals. These would be uploaded to the UK Mammal Society who would use the photo’s GPS tagging to figure out what mammals lived where in the UK. On June 18 2018 I photographed one or two mammals for them, including (as well as that mouse) some deer. I eventually got a very rude message from them saying that there were no deer in the area that I’d seen them in and that they were deleting that record. To my mind that rather defeated the entire object of the exercise, but what do I know?
But this morning (four years later) they told me I’d correctly identified a mouse.
I’ve given up with that app…
I got the dogs organised; Bailey is getting much better in having her collar put on (I no longer have to chase her round the house to catch her). We drove down to Orlestone and wandered round the woods. The walk went well; we met a couple of dogs that we know, and the puppies ran to make nuisances of themselves with a dog we didn’t know but came back when I whistled.
We came home and I messaged here and there to get out of Friday’s night shift, and I had a little look at my accounts. Not too bad I suppose…
I phoned the hospital to see how Dad was doing. The doctor told me he was comfortable, all the tubes had been taken out and he had been started on morphine as part of the “end of life” protocol.
With the dogs settled I set off to work... slowly. Having had a look at the accounts I decided I had enough money to squander on the ongoing pond refurbishment project so I went to Sheerness (Whelans) where I bought a little bridge ornament thingy. And minutes after I bought it so the heavens opened.
I went to work. Just as the day staff were about to go home the hospital phoned and said I should come as soon as possible as Dad’s breathing had changed (?) I left work and hurried off to Eastbourne. As I drove I had another phone call.
Dad died just before six o’clock…
8 September 2022 (Thursday) - Sorting Things Out
I woke this morning to the realisation that I am now an orphan. But there was no point in sulking; life goes on. Despite the drizzle I hoiked the puppies into the garden to do their business. Morgan particularly wasn’t keen. Eventually he tiddled, but I should have persevered with him as five minutes later I found a fresh turd under the table. To be fair to him I’d rather not “go” in the rain.
I made toast, and had a look at the Internet. There was an impressive squabble on one of the Facebook “Blakes Seven” pages in which someone or other had written an in-depth critique of some obscure episode (from forty years ago) and had taken offence at the postings of others who he had offended. There are quite a few people making these in-depth critiques of obscure TV shows on social media at the moment. They remind me of my old English teacher who used to take a half-way decent novel and kill it stone-dead with over-analysis.
We went to the woods and got incredibly wet. We came home and I gave the dogs a hot shower before driving down to Hastings. I met up with my brother and we (eventually) found where Dad had left his will… it wasn’t where he told us it was…
But having the confirmation that we were the executors was all that we needed to know. So knowing that we popped to the funeral directors and got the wheels in motion. As we drove to the funeral directors we saw that the East Hastings Angling Society was flying their flag at half- mast in his honour,
We then spent the afternoon on something of a pub crawl in his honour… We found some good pubs and some bad ones.. If you haven’t got a TripAdvisor Account, please set one up and be very rude about this place.
Oh… and whilst I was drinking myself silly the Queen died… I have it on reliable authority that Dad won’t have a funeral before the middle of October. I bet Her Majesty will be buried within a fortnight…
9 September 2022 (Friday) - I'm Worn Out...
I had something of a restless night, and was wide awake far too early. I had something of a headache too… can’t think why (!)
As everyone else snored I scoffed toast and had a look at the Internet. It was still there. Quite a few people were saying how sad they were that the Queen had died. I suppose it is the end of an era, really. She had a thankless task. It will be interesting to see how our new king pans out. A few years ago I can remember thinking that he would be terrible at the job but now I’m not sure.
I got the distinct impression that the succession of a new monarch was a godsend for our new Prime Minister whose capping of the energy bills seems to have passed off pretty much unnoticed. I’ve done a few sums based on the energy cap and it looks like I will only be paying ten quid a month more than I am paying now. Mind you that is still a hundred quid a month more than I was paying this time last year.
With some things (loads of things) to do in Hastings (not least of which being fetch the car) I wandered up the road to the railway station to get the train… the train which had been cancelled. The train had been cancelled due to staff shortages, but they were able to put on a bus which was to leave at the same time. How odd… a railway has no spare train staff but has a bus and driver. How does that work?
I got on the bus and amused myself watching the argument. Some chap wanted to take his bike on the bus. He always took his bike on the train and that was never an issue. But the bus driver wasn’t having it. The supervisor was called over and during the course of this part of the argument the chap with the bike started throwing it around in temper.
Leaving the cyclist behind we were only ten minutes late leaving. There were seven passengers on a double decker bus. We drove to Ham Street station where one more got on. We stopped at Appledore station for ten minutes despite no one getting on or off. It all happened at Rye where three passengers got off, and another one (in a very timid voice) asked if it was the Hastings bus.
The bus eventually drove within a hundred yard of Dad’s house, and the driver let me out there.
Together with my brother I had a productive morning. We got all of Dad’s clothes out of cupboards and bagged them up for the clothes bank (like he wanted), and we had a little look-see in the attic, and was pleased to find hardly anything at all up there.
We got done what we had planned for today, locked the house, and set off home.
Getting home rather earlier than expected I set the washing machine going and took the dogs to the woods. We went on our usual circuit and didn’t see anyone else at all, which made for a relatively easy walk. Mind you, Morgan wandered off a couple of times. He never goes *too* far, and I can usually hear the jingle of the tags on his collar and the sound of him crashing through the undergrowth. But I’d rather he didn’t wander off. It’s not too bad when Treacle or Bailey go off; the girls (usually) respond to the whistle.
And with walk walked I did what I do on most days off; I got out the ironing board and sorted laundry. As I ironed I watched “Knuckle”; a documentary about Irish travellers and the fist fights they had (for no other reason than that they could). I quite liked it.
“er indoors TM” boiled up a rather good bit of dinner, and as we scoffed it I thought back over the last two weeks. Two weeks ago my brother found Dad collapsed. Twelve days later he was dead. I had loads of hundred-mile drives, I managed to have my car pranged for me.
It’s all been rather full-on. I could really do with a rest…
10 September 2022 (Saturday) - Visiting Irene
Having had something of a lie-in the puppies weren’t tiddled until an hour later than usual this morning. But I had to wait a good ten minutes (if not longer) before Morgan finally “produced”. Whilst we don’t have *that* many accidents these days, they still happen and I’d like to avoid them as far as possible. The puppies go outside and when they do what is expected of them they get a fuss and then can come back inside… Am I doing this wrong?
I made toast and had a look at the Internet… it was much the same as ever. It has only been two days since the Queen died and still people were finding things to argue about. Did the new King ban Meghan Markle from the dying Queen’s bedside? Would the late Princess Diana have made a better Queen Consort than Camilla… Did anyone really have any idea, or were they all just looking for an argument?
We settled the dogs and set off to Beckenham. It is far too long since we caught up with Irene, and we had a really good day today putting the world to rights and playing with her wonderful Maine Coon cat. Have you ever met a Maine Coon? Lovely creatures… If I had a cat it would be one of those. Irene gave us a wonderful dinner too…
Whilst we were there we went into the attic. When Terry passed on last year he told me he wanted me to have his library of science-fiction. Being something of a sci-fi fan I was rather flattered by this, and today I made off with it. At first glance it would seem I’ve acquired quite a treasure trove.
The day went so fast, but having pups at home we had to come home far earlier than I would have liked. It had been so good to catch up. Really mustn’t leave it so long next time. And next time I will leave a dog-sitter with the hounds.
After the stresses of the last couple of weeks, a day with an old friend was just what I needed today…
11 September 2022 (Sunday) - Tribal Gathering
I slept well. With puppies tiddled I set the washing machine going, made toast and had a look at the Internet. Sadly the Queen’s death has been a godsend to those keyboard warriors who love to argue. Rugby playing friends were singing their own praises after some anti-Royalist chanting at a football match yesterday. Republican websites were demanding the return of gems in the crown jewels to the countries from which they were mined (hundreds of years ago).
I turned the lap-top off, and had a little look-see through the boxes of books I brought home from Irene’s yesterday. There were some really good books in there. As I looked through I found several favourite books of mine, several I can remember reading years ago (and am looking forward to reading again) and many I had intended to read… Many years ago there was a second-hand paperback book shop in Hastings. You could buy books cheaply and once you’d read them trade them in (at half the price you’d paid) against the price of another book. There were *loads* of books in that shop that I intended to read… but they closed down.
Now’s my chance.
I hung out the second load of washing then had a little look at the pond. The new all-singing all-dancing filtration system wasn’t working as it might; one of the filters was clearly having far more output that the other. I took it all apart, rodded the hoses through, cleaned out the filters… Eventually I found what I thought the problem was. The old filter box that died a few months ago had cylindrical wotsits inside. The new boxes both have spherical ones. And being spherical they are the right shape to bung up the water outputs. You’d think the manufacturer would have spotted that one, wouldn’t you? When I get a minute I need to buy loads of the old-style cylindrical wotsits.
I then did a little carpentry and got the waterproof switchbox off of the floor and onto the fence.
And then I spent a few minutes putting my new bridge-thingy into place and arranging the shingle around it. I‘m quite pleased with how it looks.
By then I was rather worn out. I spent a few moments trimming back that which was flowing over the hedge, and then the family gathered (or our tribe, anyway). The plan for today had been for us all to drive down to Eastbourne to see Dad as we had thought he would have lasted longer than he did, But with an Eastbourne trip not happening we just had a family lunch in the garden.
“Daddy’s Little Angel TM” made baguette for everyone and brought along crisps and cakes, and Auntie Cheryl spent a few minutes trying not to make Darcie Waa Waa cry. I managed to make her cry right away… it would seem the trick to not making her cry is to not look at her; she doesn’t seem to like that.
It was a really good family afternoon; it was only a shame that Bailey had to sick up a semi-digested turd.
I then spent seemingly hours ironing… what with one thing and another recently I’ve not had much chance to see to that nonsense…
12 September 2022 (Monday) - At The Registry Office
As I scoffed toast I saw that two of my ex-trainees had married (each other). Back in the day our lives were incredibly intertwined… and now I find they got married through what I read on Facebook. But such is life; we all move on.
This morning’s squabble on Facebook was about how much the Queen’s funeral will cost the tax-payer… with most of those opposed to spending public money not being those who’ve ever paid much tax.
I wandered up the road to find my car, and once I’d found it I headed south-wards. As I drove there were only two subjects on the radio; the service of remembrance for the Queen (which was taking place somewhere in Scotland) and occasional mentions of the Ukrainian resurgence in their ongoing war against the invading Russians. I’ve always considered myself something of a royalist, but I must admit I’m getting sick of hearing about the dead Queen and the new King. There must be more in the news than that?
I got to Hastings and found the Priory Meadow car park; when I’d last visited the place it had been a cricket pitch. With a little time on my hands I Munzee-ed for half an hour, then went to the registry office to get Dad’s death registered…
What a ridiculous formality.
The hospital had emailed all the details of his death to the registry office. All I had to do was declare that I was his son and say that everything the hospital had said was spelt correctly. Which (of course) it was. I then paid them good money for copies of the death certificate.
Have you ever been to the register office in Hastings? Someone there is on a nice little earner. As well as charging you to spell-check the hospital, if you are registering the birth of a child they will sell you a nice frame for the birth certificate. Or they will sell you it in scroll form. Getting married? They will sell you “I Do” umbrellas and nice ornate fountain pens to sign the register. They offered me one of those pens to sign the death certificate… I didn’t rise to it.
I then drove to work, taking a somewhat circuitous route as someone had been playing silly beggars by moving the “Road Closed” signs about. Mind you I think I probably only went ten miles further than I needed to.
As I got to work my phone beeped. Regular readers of this drivel may recall that on Thursday I alluded to a bad experience my brother and I had had in a pub. At the time I went into a little more detail about the episode on my Facebook account, and the owner of said pub found my comment and tried (four days too late) to explain why she’d taken umbrage and announced that my giving a factual account of the episode on TripAdvisor was “unkind”.
Basically last Thursday my brother and I walked into an empty (that’s not “not many customers”, that’s “empty”) pub, bought fifteen quid’s worth of drinks, and once our money was safely in their till, the landlady told us we weren’t welcome.
Ironically it turns out that the woman wasn’t happy that we had been swearing at the bar… odd as we were sitting down when she got nasty. And doubly odd as (over many years) the place has got itself a reputation as one of the roughest pubs in the area.
As I replied to her this evening, if she could have said what her problem was at the time I wouldn’t have publicly slated them. I suspect I will regret replying to her comment though…
But (if nothing else) this shows the power of TripAdvisor…
13 September 2022 (Tuesday) - Eyestrain
As I scoffed toast I watched an episode of “Lunatics”; a rather odd Australian Netflix mockumentary, then sparked up my lap-top. I sent out a few birthday wishes, and seeing there was an episode of dog-club scheduled for this weekend I signed up for it. We can do dog-club before “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” comes to visit. I am reliably informed he wants to see the puppies… and Treacle… Oh – and Nanny. When prompted about seeing Granddad he did say “yeah” but I suspect it was rather half-heartedly.
And following the little spat of last Thursday I received an apology from the pub that had been so offensive. It would seem I caught them on a bad day. I’ve given them the benefit of the doubt.
Having Munzee-ed from the sofa I walked to my car capping lifebelts and feathers (as one does), and then drove to work listening to the pundits on the radio interviewing James Reed (of the recruitment company). He made some interesting points. With UK unemployment at an all-time low and wage rises in the private sector currently being three times that of the public sector, not only are hospitals, schools and local government offices struggling to recruit, they are actively losing staff to the private sector.
Like we didn't see that one coming?
There was quite a bit of talk on the radio about the ongoing conflict in the Ukraine; the Ukrainian President was telling his Western allies (sponsors?) that they weren't supplying weapons quickly enough for his liking.
I can understand the chap's frustration, but from what I hear of him on the radio, gratitude doesn't seem to be his strong suit. From what I hear he seriously does expect others to fund his war.
In a novel change to the last few days there wasn't endless talk of the death of the Queen but Thought For The Day was odd... the woman talking was going on about some conversation she'd had with a stranger last week about how sad the Queen's passing had been. She went on to liken Her Late Majesty to a football team in bringing everyone together. Obviously this woman has never seen football thugs having a fight?
I got to work and before I started I had a rather productive ten minutes as I made a few phone calls. I've got an appointment with the solicitor for me and my brother next Tuesday. I've got a letter from the pension people coming in the post. I now know how to see about closing Dad's bank account. I sorted air-con re-gassing for my car. And I even confirmed a courtesy car for when my car gets fixed at the end of November.
Flushed with success I then did some work.
At tea break I went old-skool. Rather than reading my Kindle app I read a book. A proper paper book with pages and everything like I used to back in the day. Terry has left me quite a few to read.
It rather made my eyes ache. You can't change the font size on a real book. If there are any words you don't understand, taping them achieves nothing; you have to physically go get a dictionary yourself. And when you finish the book you have to actually get off your bum and go to get another one. Whilst I’m sure I will get the hang of it, I can't help but wonder how I ever coped before my Kindle app.
Meanwhile in another plane of reality it is twenty-three years since the Moon went…
14 September 2022 (Wednesday) - Historic Occasions
With a good friend due for surgery in Margate at seven o'clock, and “er indoors TM” volunteering to do the family brekkie and school run for her, it was “er indoors TM” and not me up at silly o'clock this morning. Mind you I was still up before six o'clock; I thought I might offer her my sage advice in dealing with the puppies. They tend to get a tad excitable first thing in the morning. The trick is to go into the garden with them and stand and wait for them to do their "things"; even if you have to wait quite some time. “er indoors TM” had clearly skimped on the waiting, and I found a turd under the living room table.
I would ask "have I ever mentioned that I never wanted dogs" but getting the puppies was my idea.
“er indoors TM” set off to go do her errands. The puppies stood at the door cried pathetically for ten minutes, then jumped on the sofa and had a scrap. Treacle didn't seem very bothered about any of this; it was probably too early for her. She sat with me as I scoffed my toast and watched another episode of "Lunatics". I then settled all the dogs (who were by then all fast asleep) and set off through the rain to work.
Interestingly two separate weather forecasts commented on the dry morning (!)
Again the talk on the radio was about the Queen's death and her funeral which is being arranged for next Monday. There were interviews with people who'd been out in the gathered crowds for their second night. Police chiefs were advising that over the next few days the waiting time to queue up to see the Queen's coffin would be about thirty hours (!)
Next Monday (the day of the funeral) is to be a Bank Holiday and there was a lot of talk about the mayhem this has caused. The more stupid element (who clearly hadn't thought anything through) are demanding that the universe should close that day. Those who obviously can't shut up shop (hospitals, emergency services, me...) are having no end of issues with child care...
The obvious solution would have been to have had the funeral on the Sunday, wouldn't it? However Royal protocol dictates that it is held ten days after the monarch’s death... Time to change the protocol?
I found myself getting a tad fed up with all the talk of the Queen's funeral on the radio and at work... but then I realised that this is a historic occasion. In years to come I will tell Darcie Waa Waa "I was there." (The other day “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” asked "What's the Queen" so I don't think he's as Royalist as he might be, and Lacey is old enough to see it all for herself).
I've actually lived through quite a few historic occasions, you know. (In no particular order) the falling of the Berlin Wall, the death of Princess Diana, the digging of the Channel Tunnel, the Folkestone Earthquake (it really happened!), the Olympic Flame coming up my road, Brexit, the Moon Landings… to name but a few. I think it fair to say that, at the time, all were rather tedious.
Mind you, Nostradamus predicted the lot, you know. And apparently he's predicted that King Charles won't last long, and will be succeeded by Prince Harry.
Bearing in mind Harry is only fifth in line to the throne, it would be interesting to know exactly what sort of disaster Nostradamus expects will wipe out Prince William and his entire tribe.
Not that I put any faith on Nostradamus or any other fortune teller. You never see a rich one, do you? If anyone would know on which horse to bet, eh?
Mind you an aunt once told me:
"When granddad's piles give him gyp
Then the weather will be shit"
I must admit that as prophecies go, over the years this one has been amazingly accurate (with a succession of granddads culminating in me).
15 September 2022 (Thursday) - Rostered Day Off
The car was
booked for a service this morning so I took the dogs
with me, left the car with the nice lady at the garage and we walked home.
Walking home is probably something that needs some work. Treacle stops and
sits at the kerbs, but getting the babies to do it
is still very much a work in progress. Treacle walks at heel, and Bailey
sort-of does so, but Morgan pulled pretty much all the way home.
I did dog
breakfast then did some more of the paperwork following Dad’s death… Once the
lap-top finally started working. There is a delay of up to fifteen minutes
between pressing the “switch on” and having a working lap-top. What is it doing in that time?
dozed in front of the telly under a pile of dogs until the garage phoned to
say the car was ready. We walked over to get it. Again
Treacle walked perfectly, Bailey had a half-way decent stab at it, and Morgan
was a bit of a disaster.
“er indoors TM” boiled up a very good bit of dinner, and with it scoffed I was dozing on the sofa with Morgan. It as one of those moments when God was in his heaven and all was well with the world…
And then he peed all over me.
16 September 2022 (Friday) - So Tired...
I woke feeling full of beans and raring to go... at three o'clock. I lay wide awake for a couple of hours then got up, tiddled the puppies (in the garden and not on the sofa this time) and made sarnies for later and toast for brekkie. As I scoffed it I started a new series on Netflix. "Better Than Us" is a Netflix-made show (translated from the original Russian!) about a killer robot going on the rampage having had someone trying to "do the dirty deed" at, on or with it.
It's an old story in sci-fi, but so far the show is entertaining enough.
Trying not to wake anyone I set off for work. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about the ongoing situation in Ukraine. It would seem that the spiralling inflation that is putting my bills up is putting up bills all over Europe. The consensus of opinion is that (omitting tediously long explanation) it is in no small part due to the Russian reaction to the Western world's applying economic sanctions to them (over their involvement in the Ukrainian war). There's upcoming elections in Italy, and dropping sanctions against Russia and having nothing to do with the Ukrainians is seeming to be something of a vote-winner.
Is this a sensible policy, or a case of "sod you, I'm all right" ? I don't really know.
And there was talk about the queue to see the Queen's coffin which (according to the morning's news) grew by half a mile between the time I left home and the time I got to work... where I realised that I'd left my sarnies at home.
I went to the works branch of M&S and got some lunch there. They don't give the stuff away. Perhaps if the UK weren't overtly financing the Ukrainians in their fight against the Russians my dinner might have been cheaper?
Work was work, and with done I took the hounds to the woods for a walk. We went round our usual route without meeting anyone and came home where er indoors TM” boiled up a good bit of dinner.
All went swimmingly until we put “Dogs Behaving Very Badly” on the telly when Bailey went absolutely mental…
That three o’clock start is taking its toll…
17 September 2022 (Saturday) - Dog Club, Family Afternoon
I woke up to an empty house. I couldn’t find “er indoors TM” or the dogs anywhere. I checked the garden and the attic room (twice), but they couldn’t have gone far as the leads were all still where they were supposed to be.
Eventually I found them all fast asleep on the sofa under a pile of blankets. Apparently Treacle had been sick and they had all camped out in the sofa in sympathy for no adequately explored reason.
I made toast and had a look at the Internet. A local pub was advertising that they were taking bookings for Christmas Day dinner for ninety-five quid per person. Is that good or bad? I don’t know but I suspect we could feed the entire tribe for that and get change out of it too.
We got the dogs organised and set off. With Steve not being on the radio we turned the radio off, and drove out to Paddock Wood and Dog Club. A couple of weeks ago I took the dogs to a meet-up of the Kent Dachshund group. We had a really good time (well, Treacle didn’t) and we went back today.
There weren’t as many people and/or dogs along today, but it was a bit colder. And Treacle *really* didn’t enjoy herself today. She was very snappy with the other dogs; quite possibly being rather possessive over “er indoors TM”. It was a shame that both Bailey and Morgan had to roll in something disgusting within minutes of arriving, but they seemed to make the most of it.
I took a few photos of Dog Club. We will certainly go again, but may well leave Treacle with someone as she’s not keen on it.
We came home, and were soon joined by “Daddy’s Little Angel TM”, “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” and “Darcie Waa Waa TM”. The most recent fruit of my loin wanted KFC, and with KFC coffed we went shopping.
First of all to B&Q to get a new saddle for my little girl’s chodbin. Apparently “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” had been treating their toilet seat rather too vigorously (there was talk of riding it side-saddle) and it hadn’t survived the experience.
Have you seen the price of toilet seats? They don’t give the things away, you know. After a lot of agonising over colour and design she eventually went for something with goldfish painted on it. Personally I would have gone for the cheapest one, but what do I know?
From B&Q we went to Bybrook Barn Garden Centre which (so I am told) has been called “Longacres Garden Centre” for some years.
We went straight to their café and had coffee (or tea or J2O) and cake, and once I’d got a few rocks we had a look at the tropical fish. When he’s not destroying toilet seats “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” is learning how to look after a fish tank. We (he) got some Neons and Kuhli loaches, and (as he said) he won the fish lottery on the Zebra Danios when the lady in the shop gave him six rather than the five he’d asked for.
As we drove home “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” taught us all the “Darcie Shut Your Face” song, which I thought was a tad mean as songs go. Poor little “Darcie Waa Waa TM” had been fast asleep all afternoon.
We got to Folkestone and the abode of the Folkestone branch of our tribe. Pogo got rather over-excited to see us all, and after a quick cuppa I fell asleep.
We came home and had a quiet evening in front of the telly. I feel worn out…
18 September 2022 (Sunday) - Early Shift
About half an hour before the alarm would have gone off Treacle woke me with her crying. I asked if she wanted the toilet, and she flew downstairs like a bullet from a gun. Together with the puppies we went into the garden where Treacle released a rather impressive (if you are impressed by such things) bout of dire rear. Good girl for taking it outside.
With dogs settled I made brekkie and watched another episode of “Better Than Us”, then tuned in to the live feed (on the BBC Parliament Channel) of all the people filing past the Queen’s coffin. For all the talk that you could carry nothing in, quite a few were carrying handbags, back packs and all sorts of rubbish. And few had dressed for the occasion. Most really did look as though they had dressed to go clean out the shed. You would have thought they’d have tidied themselves up a bit for such an occasion… wouldn’t you?
I sparked up the lap-top and my piss boiled when I read a posting on the Kent Dachshund group. There was a picture of one of the dogs from yesterday’s meet who was supposedly unhappy after “the pug had had a go at him” at yesterday’s meet-up. There was only one remotely pug-ish dog there, and for all that Treacle had snapped at a couple of other dogs, she hadn’t nipped or made contact in any way with any other dog, and had only ever reacted when the other dogs made a point of pushing right into her face. There was another dog mentioned by name who had supposedly had also “had a go”, but the only “goes” I saw were the usual petty squabbles of dogs that are over as quickly as they start. I had thought that everyone at yesterday’s meet knew what dogs are like; if nothing else I now know one dog (and owner) to avoid. I thought about posting up a comment to correct the accusation, but thought better of it. It would achieve nothing but to fan a squabble which would otherwise be forgotten in minutes.
And I had a little sulk when I saw that I’d missed the first of the year’s bonfire parades last night.
Taking care to let sleeping dogs lie I got ready for work, and seeing it was light outside and that certain dogs (Bailey) were sleeping, I zoomed round the garden with a bowl and trowel gathering dog dung before certain dogs (Bailey) went out for an early breakfast (dogs are foul creatures).
As I drove to work there was an article on the radio about coral reefs. This sort of thing makes for good viewing on the telly, but rather dull listening on the radio, so I turned on my music and sang along to "Ivor Biggun" as I drove to work.
I stopped off to get petrol on the way, and made the mistake of asking if they would be open tomorrow morning (as I might need a sandwich for work). The woman on the till actually did look me up and down, then peering down her nose at me (quite literally) she told me (in a very patronising tone of voice) that absolutely no one at all is working tomorrow because it is the Queen’s funeral.
One lives and learns. I thought it best not to suggest that she might be mistaken.
I went in to work and got on with that which I could not avoid, grumbling that I would rather not have been working. Half-way through the afternoon my phone beeped; my colleague who worked the morning with me had gone down the pub and had met another colleague. The two of them said they were having a beer for me…
I came home, and had a little pootle in the garden, and then Brian and CA called in for a cuppa. They only stayed for an hour, but the time flew by. It was so good to catch up; we can’t have seen each other for over five years. Really mustn’t leave it so long again.
“er indoors TM” boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we washed down with an incredibly good bottle of wine (Aldi - £3.50!). Described as “fruity and elegant” it was certainly one of the better wines I’ve ever had.
As we scoffed and drank we watched last week’s episode of “Bake Off”.
The bits of today when I wasn’t working weren’t bad at all… a shame I’ve got to work tomorrow…
19 September 2022 (Monday) - The Queen's Funeral
I felt like death warmed up when I woke this morning. Had I not been told how short-handed we were going to be at work today I would have phoned in sick. I made some toast and watched an episode of "Better Than Us" on Netflix, then watched "the queue". People had been queuing overnight to pay their respects to Her Majesty, and the queue was coming to an end this morning.
I didn't go up there... it wasn't really practical. However had I known that people were allowed to carry luggage in (which had been expressly forbidden according to the radio last week) then I might just have had a look-see. People were even carrying dogs through this morning...
Now that it is all over I feel I missed out.
Still feeling grim I set off to work. The roads were quiet, but not as quiet as they might have been. There were still loads of lorries going to and fro. Despite the radio being nothing but talk about today's Royal funeral I listened to it out of a sense of being part of history... Sadly there was absolutely nothing to be said that hadn't been repeated ad-nauseum over the last week or so, and the morning's presenter was doing nothing but repeat himself which rather detracted from the occasion.
Mind you I did chuckle when there was talk of a leaked Foreign Office document advising on how to deal with the foreign dignitaries attending the funeral. The official advice was: "Keep apart leaders who hate one another, watch what you feed them and make sure that President Macron is near the front to avoid a hissy fit".
I'm sure the French are going to love that one...
I got to work and found the chap on the night shift had done most (pretty much all) of the setting-up tasks that I would have done this morning. And within a very short time several colleagues who weren't supposed to be working turned up. With nothing to do at home they thought they'd come in to work and take a day off another time when it suited them better.
I'd only come in today because everyone else had said they wanted the day off... Having spent quite a bit of time watching the Laying in State I would have liked to have watched the funeral, but by then I was already at work and it was far too late to be changing plans. So I just spent much of the day constantly grumbling about what a waste of my time today had been.
As I was about to come home “er indoors TM” sent a message; she was taking the dogs out, and one of the pond's filter boxes was leaking.
When I got home I had a look at the filter. Having spent three hundred quid on the pond's new filter system, it simply isn't working. A few weeks ago I bought two smaller filters and spread the water between them. The water isn’t spreading evenly. I *think* each filter needs its own pump. I shall have a look in the pond shop tomorrow…
With “er indoors TM” and the dogs out I had a little tidy-up and loaded a carful of rubbish for a tip run in the morning. As I pootled “er indoors TM” sent another message. Bailey had run off, and Treacle had eaten a dead mouse. Amazingly Morgan wasn’t guilty of any crimes.
With mouse eaten and Bailey recovered “er indoors TM” and the hounds came home. We had a rather good bit of dinner watching a film. I can remember going to the cinema to watch “Blackball”… nearly twenty years ago.
Oh – and it was International Talk Like A Pirate Day today. That’s something that died a death, isn’t it? Mind you it would have had some serious competition today.
And I still feel rough…
20 September 2022 (Tuesday) - Rostered Day Off (!)
As I scoffed toast I saw that three Facebook friends had a birthday today. As only one has made any effort to stay in touch over the last ten years I only sent out one birthday video. I also saw that pretty much all of the Royal funeral talk had gone from the Internet.
I posted on to one of the local Facebook groups asking if anyone could recommend a plumber to do a couple of small jobs round the house. I’d posted the same question on another Facebook group over the weekend and the post had been deleted. I got told that the group I’d posted on wasn’t for that sort of thing. I’d love to know what sort of thing that group was for as it seems to be rather moribund.
I then got on with the business of the day…
When I drive to work I drive past the tip. Usually I pass it about five minutes after leaving home. It took me half an hour to get there this morning. I was the only customer there (if customer is the right word), and with nothing else to do the tip operative watched me “like a pork” (as “My Boy TM” used to say), peering into my car to see what I was getting rid of, and following me to check everything went in the right skip
From the tip I went to the pond shop at Rolvenden. Yesterday I mentioned the latest problem with the pond and my idea to fix it. I got new pumps and connectors to extend the existing hoses. That only cost two hundred and fifty quid…
From there I went to Dad’s house. It seemed rather odd letting myself in. I picked up a suit for him to wear; he needs to look smart as the funeral directors can arrange for people to see the body before the funeral. I got the suit that I got married in. A few years ago I realised I was far too big for that suit, and I swapped it with Dad for one of his suits that he was too small to wear any more.
I then went to my brother’s and together we went to the solicitor to check that everything we are doing with his estate is legal. Fortunately it is… mostly. We need to formally apply for “probate”. Probate is the legal right to deal with someone's property, money and possessions when they die. Getting probate will cost money. Personally I think it is a total rip-off. My Dad (and Mum too) spent good money paying for a will saying what they want to happen with their property, money and possessions. And now we’ve got to spend more money getting probate as well. What a con.
By then it was lunch time so we went for McLunch. The place was absolutely heaving with children who probably should have been at school. The chap behind the counter said that they’d never been so busy and blamed their having been closed for half a day yesterday.
From McLunch we went to the funeral director’s and made a start on planning the funeral. I say “made a start”; Dad had already paid for it and left instructions for much of it. So what could have taken hours was all done in half an hour.
I came home, and took the dogs to the walk for what must have been Morgan’s worst-behaved walk ever. We got to the woods where I opened the boot, and he jumped quicker than I could catch him. It was ten minutes before he came close enough for me to get the lead off of him.
He vanished (with Bailey as partner-in-crime) in the deepest part of the wood for ten minutes.
As we came round the loop at the top of the wood he vanished, and was captured (on the road!) by a fellow dog-walker on her way home,
I shall plan a route round the woods that doesn’t go anywhere near that road…
“er indoors TM” boiled up a decent bit of scran which we scoffed whilst watching “Derry Girls”, and I then spent a very frustrating half hour on the parcelforce website. Whilst I was going here and there “er indoors TM” heard the dogs barking at the door and had found a “we tried to deliver your parcel” note. As is always the case, “we tried to deliver your parcel” meant that the delivery chap had come to the door and put a note through the door.
I’ve asked for the parcel to be redelivered on Thursday. If we get another note the parcel can go back to the sender and I will make a special journey to a shop to buy the thing directly. I’m fast going off of the idea of on-line shopping; it only works *if* the delivery people actually make an effort to deliver what you are buying.
21 September 2022 (Wednesday) - Late Shift
I had something of a lie-in this morning being woken by “er indoors TM”’s alarm at seven o’clock. I made toast and had a look at the Internet. Five friends had birthday today, and all five got sent the birthday video.
I then took the dogs out in the car. As we drove to Orlestone the pundits on the radio were interviewing some Russian official or other who was screaming and ranting. Apparently President Putin has threatened to use nukes in his ongoing Ukrainian war. This morning it wasn’t clear whether he was going to drop the nukes on Ukraine or those supporting Ukraine (i.e. London).
I’ve said before that the whole Ukrainian war was akin to how I (and others) used to egg on the weediest kid in the class to have a fight with the school bully by offering to hold their coat; bullies are far easier hit by someone else.
This whole Ukrainian thing is getting out of hand. It was interesting to listen to the chap being interviewed; what he was saying (ranting) was utterly at odds with the news we hear in the UK. I expect there is a little bit of propaganda and bias on both sides. I wonder what the truth of the matter is?
We got to the woods and I set off on our walk with something of a sense of dread. Morgan had been terrible yesterday. He ran off chasing the voices in his head several times; finally being captured on the road.
I caught him before he could spring from the car this morning, and he stayed on the lead until we were safely away from the car park. We took a rather different route round the woods today exploring new areas and making a point of not going anywhere near the roads. Perhaps it was the new route, or perhaps yesterday had just been a bad day, but for all that the dogs did run about like mad things they stayed within earshot (if not sight) the whole time.
As well as hearing the dogs I could also hear something else crashing about in the woods. As we walked back to the car park we met another dog walker who said she’d seen a herd of fourteen deer running through the woods.
With walk walked I spent a few minutes poring over Google Maps. “er indoors TM” drives past the motorway junction on her way to work and had told me it took her over an hour to get there this morning as the Cows Roundabout was being dug up. And getting to the motorway via the other junction would mean going through three miles of road works.
I've been saying for a long time that the presence of any road works should preclude any other road works within a five mile radius, and all available gangs should get cracking on the existing road works (regardless of which company they work for). Sadly there is a growth industry in starting road works but not actually getting on with them... for example coast bound on the M20 between junctions eight and nine which has had over ten miles of the fast lane coned off for weeks despite no work going on there at all.
I set off for work… and completely forgot about the road works and ended up driving through them. At the Cows Roundabout were two blokes working. One sweeping, one in a small digger.
I then went up the M20. No one was working on the coast bound bit, but I counted twenty workmen standing at intervals up the contraflow bit. None doing anything, all just standing there.
Pausing only briefly to pop into Sainsburys I got to work… and as is always the case on the late shift, pretty much everything of note today was done by mid day…
22 September 2022 (Thursday) - Various Rants
I woke in a cold sweat following a nightmare in which rather than giving me a pay rise, the government had ordered all NHS staff to stand at bus stops where members of the public would give us their unwanted and out of date food, and I had been getting a lot of verbal abuse from a physiotherapist about a half-chewed curlywurly. It sounds rather ridiculous, but at the time it was rather frightening.
It was with something of a sense of relief that I took the puppies into the garden to do their thing.
With puppies tiddled, Treacle placated and puppies safely deposited on a sleeping “er indoors TM” I made toast and watched some "Better Than Us" before setting off to work. Much of the Cows Roundabout and miles of motorway were still coned off this morning, but again still coned off for no reason that I could see. And with absolutely no one working there.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were still talking about President Putin's ranting. It just amazes me that people are acting surprised at his attitude. Having much of the world financing a war against him, he's going to have the arse with those supplying the weapons, isn't he?
There was also talk about how Boy George is selling his house. It is up for sale for seventeen million quid. Seventeen million quid... back when he was famous I semi-managed a gang of mates who sort-of had a band. I arranged a few gigs for them at which they never performed as they were always "practicing". Had they ever practiced enough to perform, might I now be selling a house worth seventeen million quid?
And talking of selling a house, I've got to find the deeds to my Dad's house... They aren't with all the paperwork he'd left us and the bank hasn’t got them. I am reliably informed that deeds are all on-line these days. I've sent an email to the Land Registry people; let's see what comes of that.
Work was work; I had a good day with one of the trainees today teaching her blood morphology. And with work worked I came home to find another slip from the delivery people. Two days ago the delivery chap put a delivery slip through the front door claiming that no one was home (and so he couldn’t deliver a parcel) when “er indoors TM” was home. They tried to re-deliver that parcel today… I say “tried to re-deliver”; they just stuck another slip through the door (whilst “er indoors TM” was home) and they now expect me to go into the post office in town to collect the thing… The post office’s opening times is from nine o’clock in the morning till half past five in the evening. I’ve told the company they can have the parcel back. I didn’t say that they could stick it where the sun doesn’t shine, but I hope they could infer that from my tone.
“er indoors TM” boiled up a particularly good bit of dinner which we washed down with a ten quid bottle of plonk from Aldi (quality!) whilst watching this week’s episode of “Bake Off”.
I wonder if I will have a headache in the morning – that cheapo bottle of plonk we had earlier in the week left me feeling rather grim…
23 September 2022 (Friday) - FTF In The Dark
Waking far too early this morning I had a stroke of genius. I tiddled the puppies, settled them with “er indoors TM” and checked my phone. On Tuesday a new geocache had gone live five miles from home and last night still hadn't been found. This morning at silly o'clock there was still no find logged, so with the chance of a cheeky First to Find I drove out to Wye, acted very suspiciously in the back alleys, found what I was looking for, and was feeling very smug and driving off to work before dawn broke.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were discussing the news of the day. A lot of consternation was being expressed by the government's announcement that it is overturning the ban on fracking. Those whose homes will be destroyed by fracking weren't overly keen on the idea (and I can see their point), but does the UK have much alternative? With energy prices going through the roof we need cheap power now. And I can’t help but feel that as a nation we’ve left it rather late to ask if picking a fight with the world's biggest exporter of natural gas was such a good idea. Fracking it is, then… or are we content to live by candlelight?
There was also talk of the new Chancellor of the Exchequer's plans which have widely been described as a mini-budget. Apparently there was very little "mini" about it; being described as the most radical shake-up to the UK's economy for years. Those being interviewed (who seemed to understand finance) either loved it or hated his plans, but all described it as a gamble. The Labour party spokesman said it was a crap idea, and sat on the sidelines throwing rocks and offered nothing constructive (as is their way these days).
Ironically as I drove up the motorway through the rain, the weather forecast talked about the dry day in the South East.
With a few minutes to spare (and having forgotten to make lunch) I went to the petrol station for fuel for the car and for myself. And then it was on to work where I did my bit. During the morning I discovered a new case of hereditary elliptocytosis. Hereditary elliptocytosis is actually a range of conditions ranging from "you don't know you've got it and it is found by chance" through to "extremely debilitating". Fortunately this patient was one in the "you don't know you've got it and it is found by chance" group.
I'll go into tedious detail about it elsewhere, but It is precisely for these incredibly rare instances that I stare down a microscope so much.
The rain lasted pretty much all day; it slacked off as I left work, but got heavier as I came home. I had planned to take the dogs to the woods, but they didn’t want to go into the garden because of the rain.
So I sparked up the lap-top and started looking at the arrangements for Dad’s funeral. The funeral directors had set up a rather good (if somewhat generic) tribute page. I added a slideshow of pictures of Dad (rather than the stock photo of a sunset) and removed all mention of “Thomas” and replaced it with “Dick” as he never went by his real name. That only took two hours.
We’re now leaving it overnight and if my brother and I can’t think of anything more to change, it will go live tomorrow…
24 September 2022 (Saturday) - More Pond Filtering
I woke at silly o’clock and lay awake fretting about probate… from what I can see if we go to a solicitor it will cost us about four thousand quid, and if we do it ourselves through the government’s website we’ll get change out of four hundred.
Eventually I nodded off and didn’t wake until after eight o’clock.
I made toast and as I scoffed it I had a look at the monthly accounts. I’ve had a pay rise. On the one hand that’s a result. On the other hand it is less than half of the current rate of inflation. But either way it is better than a poke up the bum with a sharp stick. The pay rise was backdated till last April, and it effectively covered the cost of what I’ve squandered on the pond’s filtration system. Once I’d counted the pennies I found myself much the same as ever; far from skint, but equally far from rich.
It was then that the postie delivered the mail. There was a letter from the solicitors dealing with Dad’s pension. They wanted a copy of the “Bereavement Grant Application Form”. I wonder what that is? Just when you think you are getting a handle on it all, something like this pops up.
We took the dogs for a quick walk at Great Chart. A geocache of mine needed replacing. Absolutely anyone could have replaced it for me; absolutely no one did. So I popped out a new pot as we walked up almost to the river and back again. We didn’t quite go as far as the river as I didn’t want the dogs getting soaking wet.
With dogs walked we came home and I plumbed in the pond’s new filter pumps. It was rather straightforward. I lifted the rocks out of the way so I could get to the hoses. I dug the shingle so I could get to the power cables. I got the old pump out of the pond, cut the old hoses into suitable lengths, connected the cut hoses to the new pumps, sunk the new pumps, turned it all back on again, put the shingle and the rocks back and then had a cuppa. So easy to type; over two hours to do.
I then trimmed up the overflowing stuff from the fences on either side, and then disassembled the camouflage box I made for the old pond filter (that went to the tip a few weeks ago).
By then I was knackered. I could have gone out with “er indoors TM” but my back was rather painful. I put up with its twinging as I did the ironing whilst watching episodes of “Better Than Us”. It’s turning out to be a rather good show, but reminds me of “Squid Game” in that it would have been so much better had they spent a few more pennies on the translation.
And I also launched Dad’s tribute site today. You can see it by clicking here.
25 September 2022 (Sunday) - Family Birthdays
The nose piece of my CPAP machine burst in the small hours and I woke with a nose full of what I can only describe as warm Vaseline. Yuk! I didn’t (couldn’t) get back off to sleep after that.
When I tried to get up I could barely move; those rocks in the garden are too heavy to keep moving them about (like I seem to be doing an awful lot these days). But I heaved my carcass out of its pit, tiddled the puppies, and made toast which I scoffed whilst having my usual trawl of the Internet.
As I peered into the Internet Bailey came downstairs and asked to go out. I’m taking that as something of a result as “doing their business” is still very hit-and-miss. Mind you I’m hoping she went out to make a deposit and not a withdrawal. She still does snack on the occasional turd; seeing them as something of a delicacy.
Can’t see it myself.
The internet was still there. I used it to send out my birthday video to “My Boy TM”, and to one of the girls at work. She looks about the same age as him. I wonder if they were born on the same day? I wonder how I might ask without appearing nosey?
I read that “Wheels of Time” had received an Ashford Borough Council Platinum Jubilee Civic Award yesterday. “Wheels of Time” is a local heritage group about which I knew absolutely nothing. It looks quite interesting; I wonder how many other local groups like that are out there about which I know absolutely nothing.
As I walked out to find my car I saw a “For Sale” notice board on nice-next-door. I wonder who will move in there next? No one ever stays in that house for very long. We moved here in September 1991 when that house was occupied by a little old lady who kept herself to herself.
She was replaced by the mother-in-law of the other neighbours. We got on well with her to the disgust of those other neighbours.
After her it is all something of a blur. I can't remember the exact order, and I may have forgotten some ...
There was the drunk Irishman who would play crap music incredibly late at night.
There were two young Australian ladies who would sunbathe in the garden in the nip (I liked them).
There was a Nigerian family who would never pull the blind in their toilet window.
There were two young lads who were great fun.
There was another Nigerian fellow who would regularly have a "crafty Joddrell" into the toilet in the evenings; the shadows of which on their bathroom blind were rather entertaining
There was the odd couple who tried to blame the flood in their upstairs bathroom on my downstairs washing machine.
There was the young family who ran away owning thousands (we had the debt collectors asking after them for months).
There were the people with three dogs each of which was the size of a cart-horse.
There was the nice couple who moved round the corner to Francis Road.
There was the lot who did noisy sex and who moved out in May 2018
There was the lot who used to run the Elwick Club and went on to run the Albion.
There was the lot who felt they were paying far too much rent who moved in on 9 March 2020 and left 1 August 2020 to go live in a caravan on the Romney Marsh.
The current chap moved in sometime in September 2020… and now he’s going.
In between all of them the house was empty for a year (on two occasions)
Mind you I wouldn’t want to live next door to me…
I drove round to the abode of the first fruit of my loin and collected “My Boy TM” and Cheryl. We left Lacey with instructions to make sure that Ro-Ro was sent out for a tiddle. I suggested her boyfriend also be sent out for a tiddle too (better safe than sorry), but favourite oldest granddaughter wasn’t amused.
We went to the pond shop. I needed a fountain attachment thingy for the pond. But I didn’t know what model of pump it was for; the chap who lived next door three neighbours ago gave it to me (and it was years old then), so I took part of the pump into the pond shop. The nice man rummaged in his box of spares and gave me exactly the bit I needed. And didn’t charge me for it either.
From there we went on to Dad’s house where we made a start on clearing up. Ornaments and keepsakes need distributing, photos need scanning, shed needs emptying… We got loads done. There’s still loads to do, but we got all the family photos down and the ornaments out of the living room. It doesn’t look like mum and dad’s living room any more, and that is a good thing.
With tidying tidied we then went up to the Conqueror’s March for a family dinner; after all today was “My Boy TM” ‘s birthday. I must admit that I wasn’t expecting much of the place. I thought it would be just like a Wetherspoons with microwaved ready-meals. I was wrong. The food was excellent. And as an added bonus we met an ex-cub scout, and a friend from my days in the Boys Brigade that I hadn’t seen in over twenty years.
We came home. I installed the pond’s new fountain attachment, unpacked the ornaments from Dad’s house that I’d wanted (I expect I’ll go back for more…), supervised the dogs doing “shares” with the lamb bone that “er indoors TM” brought home from the pub, and then watched the dogs eating a celebration tea of sardines. Today was also Treacle’s birthday…
I really do feel that I now need a day off to recover from this weekend…
26 September 2022 (Monday) - Where Are They Now
Oh, I ached when I woke up this morning. I heaved myself out of my pit and hobbled downstairs where the puppies looked almost as tired as I felt. They are learning that the first thing that happens every morning is that they go outside, and both trotted to the back door. I watched them going to the back door with such a sense of achievement... and it is so frustrating when they still have their little accidents inside.
I made toast, and scraped jam onto it using the bone-handled knives I blagged from Dad's kitchen yesterday. I quite like those knives, even if they are quite a bit older than I am. I scoffed toast watching an episode of "Better Than Us", then set off to work through the pouring rain.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about the after-effects of last Friday's mini-budget. Over the weekend the pound has collapsed against every other currency in the world. I'm no financial genius, but it seems clear to me that neither is our new Chancellor of the Exchequer (if the global financial markets are anything to go by).
There were reports from the Labour Party conference that the Labour party feel the UK should adopt some form of proportional representation in parliamentary elections. Again no one is brave enough to address the actual problem with British politics; what the country needs is an electorate capable of making an informed decision. Am I being harsh on my fellow voters? In support of my cynicism I'd like to make the observation that in Italy they've just voted for the most right wing leader since the second world war and look how well Benito went down (literally).
I got to work and cracked on with the early shift in a somewhat reflective frame of mind. Yesterday I mentioned I'd met an old pal from my days in the Boys Brigade of forty years ago. Also when tidying out Dad's house yesterday I found an old class photo from 1975. I had seen Gary from time to time over the years, and two of his sisters are on my Facebook list so I've had vague contact with him. But of my thirty-odd ex-classmates... Four of them are Facebook friends; I actually saw one of them eighteen years ago. But as for the rest... I believe two are teachers (one science, one history) and absolutely anything could have happened to the others. I wonder what did happen to them?
With work done I came home and took the dogs to the woods. It had rained quite a bit during the day, and the dogs got filthy. Every year we stop going to Orlestone over the winter… is it time to stop going there until the spring?
28 September 2022 (Wednesday) - The Plumber Called
I ached all over this morning as I heaved my carcass out of its pit, and my arm was particularly sore. If not for the arm I would have blamed the bottle of red wine we swilled last night. But the arm... that would be yesterday's injection. I couldn't help but remember the BCG vaccine we all had as schoolchildren after which everyone would cry out in agony every time anyone went near their injected arm. The pain from the BCG vaccination lasted for days, or (in the case of the weedier children seeking to deter bullies) months... or so we all used to pretend
After the morning’s usual toast and telly I set off to work on a very cold morning. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about how both the major pipelines carrying gas from Russia to Europe have been sabotaged. Like we didn't see this coming?
And the International Monetary Fund have said the UK's fiscal policy is crap.
I don't really remember much else of the radio this morning. In the sports news (blah blah sport...) there was an interview with someone with a thick Scottish accent; so thick that I couldn't understand a word, and my attention drifted as I found myself more concerned with the traffic which was rather busy this morning. Far busier than it had been yesterday and Monday when I'd been on the early shift and was going to work an hour earlier.
But I got to work, and once there I did my bit.
In between work I phoned the bank to ask what I do with cheques to do with Dad's stuff made payable to "The Executor of...". It only took an hour to get through to someone. It was a shame that the person to whom I got through didn't really speak English, but there it is. Eventually he had to concede he didn't understand a word I was saying and tried to put me through to someone else... and the line went dead. So I phoned again. After two and a half hours we established that I need to go into the bank to cash the cheque... that's a pain in the arse...
And talking of pains in the arse I spent much of the day suddenly sprinting to Trap One... I wonder what set that off?
Late in the afternoon a colleague in another department saw me, and asked how I was. She claimed that everyone who had had the COVID jab with me yesterday had gone home sick during the day today. I spent the last part of the day walking round telling everyone how double-hard I was.
I wonder if everyone else who’d had the jab felt as grim as I did and if they had also had the two-bob-bits.
I came home via the works’ cashpoint machine. “er indoors TM” had had a plumber round to look at the dripping tap and the overflowing water tank earlier. He’d said he could sort them both this evening so I got the dosh to pay him.
I must admit that it was with a sense of “I bet he don’t turn up” that I sat down and carried on the application for probate and one or two other dull but necessary chores to do with sorting Dad’s house whilst we waited for him. Talking to other people who have lost parents I am really grateful that Dad (and Mum) had got themselves organised. Compared to what a lot of friends and colleagues have gone through, what we are having to do with Dad’s estate is far more straightforward.
And I was wrong; the plumber did turn up. Albeit an hour late. But he turned up, which is far more than many other plumbers have done. He’s replaced the dripping tap, and is currently getting busy with the water tank. The sooner he gets done the sooner I get my dinner…
29 September 2022 (Thursday) - Rather Dull
I have a vague recollection of “er indoors TM” shouting at Treacle in the small hours because Treacle was whinging. I wonder what that was all about? Presumably they sorted their contretemps?
I got up a few hours later, and once I'd done the puppies' tiddle routine I had my shave and found myself glaring at the new taps. I didn't like them, and I don't like them. They are perfectly serviceable, but they are new. And I don't do change very well.
I watched an episode of "Better Than Us", then set off to work on another cold morning.
As I drove most of the talk on the radio was about the complete balls-up that the new Chancellor of the Exchequer has made of the economy. He's only done one thing, and apparently that cost the Bank of England over fifty billion quid. That's quite something, isn't it? I think most of us would be proud of that (!)
I found myself looking the Chancellor up on the Internet. Apparently he was once a financial analyst and went from a newbie MP to Chancellor of the Exchequer in twelve years. The chap was filmed laughing and pulling all sorts of strange expressions at the Queen's funeral, and there's now calls for him and the Prime Minister to go even though they've only been in place for a few weeks.
This is our third consecutive disaster of a Prime Minister… It speaks volumes about the leadership of our country that it has gone seriously downhill… downhill from someone who allegedly had sex with a dead pig (!)
I got into work and treated myself with the cooked breakfast. It was rather good. I did spend the day with something of a dodgy stomach, but nowhere near as dodgy as yesterday's, so that was a result.
Today I spread my lunch break out in bits through the day so as I could carry on sorting probate and pension wind-downs and all sorts of assorted paperwork tasks. As I phoned (seemingly) the ten thousandth office of which I had hitherto been blissfully unaware it struck me that I really should think about getting my own affairs in order.
My plan is that I will croak before “er indoors TM” and then she can divvy out the Lego, but you never quite know what might happen. I'm not entirely sure I can trust the fruits of my loin to sort it all out without squabbling…
Today was a tad dull, really…
30 September 2022 (Friday) - A Rant
I’m going to have a little rant…
Last night my piss boiled as I wrote up some CPD. I'd had a message from my professional regulator saying they wanted to put their fees up, and were staging a consultation on the matter.
I expect that most people are unaware of the HCPC…
The Health and Care Professions Council is a statutory regulator of over two hundred and eighty thousand professionals from fifteen health and care professions throughout the United Kingdom. Dieticians and paramedics, chiropodists and radiographers... and me.
Its main purpose is to protect the public which it does this by setting and maintaining standards of proficiency and conduct for the professions it regulates. Among all sorts of other things it organises education and training programmes which health and care professionals must complete before they can be set loose on the public, it maintains a register of health and care providers who meet their professional requirements and standards of practice. And they hold tribunals when these professional standards aren’t met.
You can read more on Wikipedia, but basically it is a vital body instrumental in maintaining the standards of healthcare in the UK.
But… They get no funding whatsoever from the UK government. That’s not “not much”, that’s “none at all”. All that it does (and it does a lot) is funded from my payments and the payments of all the other registrants. The HCPC claims that being a financially independent institution, is crucial for maintaining fair standards for the professions they regulate. I can’t say I agree with this; especially as this costs me nearly a hundred quid a year in the payments I have to make to the HCPC.
Who else pays to be able to work? Do you? And now they want to put it up by another twenty quid a year
I don’t deny the HCPC needs the funding. But is funding the vital work the HCPC does in this way in any way defensible? Surely it should be funded from the public purse in the same way the NHS is funded?
Perhaps I might start a national campaign to get my professional body properly funded… Or perhaps I will just content myself by having this rant and just pay the extra twenty quid. Whichever I do, I still have either to pay up or find myself a new job.
Going to lie down now…